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Philippine bishop pushes for charter change

Church often opposed move by earlier administrations to amend Constitution

Philippine bishop pushes for charter change
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad reporter, Manila

January 6, 2011

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A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippine province of Basilan says the time has now come to push for change in the Philippine constitution. “We keep on saying ‘wait until a new president is installed’ before we change or amend the constitution. I think this is the time because [President Benigno Aquino III] has the support of Filipinos,” Bishop Martin Jumoad said on Jan. 5. The Basilan bishop was referring to a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines statement which said that if there was a need to change the 1987 Constitution it should be done under a new administration and through a constitutional convention. Previous administrations tried and failed to amend the Philippine constitution because of strong opposition from the public and the Church. Bishop Jumoad said he is convinced there are provisions in the constitution which need to be changed, particularly those concerning the economy. “In terms of the economy, for example, most of the income [from businesses] goes to Manila or to the national government and only a fraction is given to Mindanao. I believe the local economy here must get more attention for the area to really improve,” the bishop said. “I would suggest that what belongs to Mindanao must be for Mindanao. What belongs to Visayas is for Visayas. The same thing with Luzon, and if there’s extra, then that’s the time to share. That should be the case because charity begins at home,” Bishop Jumoad said. Related reports Distrust sparks resistance to charter change Church leaders warn against pre-election charter change PR12719.1635
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